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Enterprise Network Design Considerations

It is not just about connectivity.

Security, risk, and trust models play into how networks are designed and deployed. If these models are not considered during network design, band-aids and workarounds will be deployed to achieve the needed goals, potentially bypassing network controls.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

The cloud “gold rush” has made it attractive for many enterprises to migrate services off the traditional network and into the cloud. These services are now outside of the traditional network and associated controls. This shifts the split of east-west vs. north-south traffic patterns, as well as extending the network to encompass services outside of enterprise IT’s locus of control.

Impact and Result

Where users access enterprise data or services and from which devices dictate the connectivity needed. With the increasing shift of work that the business is completing remotely, not all devices and data paths will be under the control of IT. This shift does not allow IT to abdicate from the responsibility to provide a secure network.


Enterprise Network Design Considerations Research & Tools

1. Enterprise Network Design Considerations Deck – A brief deck that outlines key trusts and archetypes when considering enterprise network designs.

This blueprint will help you:

- Understand business needs: Understand the what the business needs are and where users and resources are located.

- Define your trust model: Trust is a spectrum and tied tightly to security.

- Align with an archetype: How is the network to be deployed?

- Understand available tooling: What tools are in the market to help achieve design principles?

2. Enterprise Network Roadmap Technology Assessment Tool – Build an infrastructure assessment in an hour.

Dispense with detailed analysis and customizations to present a quick snapshot of the road ahead.


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Enterprise Network Design Considerations

It is not just about connectivity.

Executive Summary

Info-Tech Insight

Connectivity and security are tightly coupled

Security, risk, and trust models play into how networks are designed and deployed. If these models are not considered during network design, band-aids and workarounds will be deployed to achieve the needed goals, potentially bypassing network controls.

Many services are no longer within the network

The cloud “gold rush” has made it attractive for many enterprises to migrate services off the traditional network and into the cloud. These services are now outside of the traditional network and associated controls. This shifts the split of east-west vs. north-south traffic patterns, as well as extending the network to encompass services outside of enterprise IT’s locus of control.

Users are demanding an anywhere, any device access model

Where users access enterprise data or services and from which devices dictate the connectivity needed. With the increasing shift of work that the business is completing remotely, not all devices and data paths will be under the control of IT. This shift does not allow IT to abdicate from the responsibility to provide a secure network.

Enterprise networks are changing

The new network reality

The enterprise network of 2020 and beyond is changing:

  • Services are becoming more distributed.
  • The number of services provided “off network” is growing.
  • Users are more often remote.
  • Security threats are rapidly escalating.

The above statements are all accurate for enterprise networks, though each potentially to differing levels depending on the business being supported by the network. Depending on how affected the network in question currently is and will be in the near future, there are different common network archetypes that are best able to address these concerns while delivering business value at an appropriate price point.

High-Level Design Considerations

  1. Understand Business Needs
  2. Understand what the business needs are and where users and resources are located.

  3. Define Your Trust Model
  4. Trust is a spectrum and tied tightly to security.

  5. Align With an Archetype
  6. How will the network be deployed?

  7. Understand Available Tooling
  8. What tools are in the market to help achieve design principles?

Understand business needs

Mission

Never ignore the basics. Start with revisiting the mission and vision of the business to address relevant needs.

Users

Identify where users will be accessing services from. Remote vs. “on net” is a design consideration now more than ever.

Resources

Identify required resources and their locations, on net vs. cloud.

Controls

Identify required controls in order to define control points and solutions.

Define a trust model

Trust is a spectrum

  • There is a spectrum of trust, from fully trusted to not trusted at all. Each organization must decide for their network (or each area thereof) the appropriate level of trust to assign.
  • The ease of network design and deployment is directly proportional to the trust spectrum.
  • When resources and users are outside of direct IT control, the level of appropriate trust should be examined closely.

Implicit

Trust everything within the network. Security is perimeter based and designed to stop external actors from entering the large trusted zone.

Controlled

Multiple zones of trust within the network. Segmentation is a standard practice to separate areas of higher and lower trust.

Zero

Verify trust. The network is set up to recognize and support the principle of least privilege where only required access is supported.

Align with an archetype

Archetypes are a good guide

  • Using a defined archetype as a guiding principle in network design can help clarify appropriate tools or network structures.
  • Different aspects of a network can have different archetypes where appropriate (e.g. IT vs. OT [operational technology] networks).

Traditional

Services are provided from within the traditional network boundaries and security is provided at the network edge.

Hybrid

Services are provided both externally and from within the traditional network boundaries, and security is primarily at the network edge.

Inverted

Services are provided primarily externally, and security is cloud centric.

Enterprise Network Design Considerations preview picture

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Average Days Saved

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Authors

Scott Young

Troy Cheeseman

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